News from the industry’s top chipmakers, announcements from the year’s largest healthcare IT conference, and an early look at the robotic toys that will be creeping you out when the holidays come back around are all among the stories we didn’t get to this week.By Rich Freeman
Hey, racing fans, it’s Daytona 500 time! And nothing goes with the biggest event in motor sports like chili, amirite? Slow-cooked, home-made chili, involving lots of chopping and a week’s worth of gentle stirring. It kept our hands away from the keyboard for a few days, but it sure smells good in here. Let’s get caught up on what we would have written about if we hadn’t been roasting peppers instead.
Chips ahoy. Remember when the big news from processor vendors had to do with, you know, processors, for desktops and laptops and servers and maybe mobile devices? Those days continue to recede into the distance as leading chipmakers turn their attention to that biggest of next big hardware markets, the Internet of Things. Just take a look at the flood of news from Intel and Qualcomm if you don’t believe us. The first of those companies announced a whole series of products designed to support the high-bandwidth, high-speed 5G networks that will make the sprawling IoT solutions of tomorrow hum along smoothly, including:
- New Atom and Xeon SoCs for network edge devices.
- A new family of QuickAssist Adapters that free up processor cycles by taking on routing and encryption chores.
- A new 25 GbE Ethernet network adapter offering an intermediate step between the 10GbE network technologies just now rolling out en masse and the 40 GbE technologies to come in the future.
- A new 5G modem that supports pretty much every GSM, CDMA, and LTE mobile network standard out there through a single SKU.
Qualcomm for its part made some 5G news of its own, and also announced that it:
- Plans to add support for Google’s Android Things operating system to Snapdragon 210 processors.
- Has begun sampling a 10nm LTE modem and two new Internet of Things SoCs with built-in support for Bluetooth Low Energy 5, Dual-band Wi-Fi, and 802.15.4-based technologies.
- Has created a development kit for virtual reality solutions powered by the Snapdragon 835 mobile processor that reached market last month.
ARM got in on the act too, revealing that it has acquired Mistbase and NextG-Com, two vendors with expertise in the NarrowBand-IoT standard that ARM sees as a powerful tool for linking Internet of Things gizmos over secure, low-power, wide-area connections.
Meanwhile, AMD and Samsung went old school. The former announced that the first of its new Ryzen desktop processors will ship next week and the latter pulled the wraps off of its new Exynos 9 Series 8895, a 10nm mobile processor that delivers 27 percent better performance than 14nm predecessors while consuming 40 percent less power.
Just what the doctor ordered. Actually, there probably weren’t all that many doctors at this week’s giant HIMSS conference in Orlando, but there were an estimated 45,000 IT professionals, channel pros, vendors, and experts of various stripes on hand to explore the latest developments in healthcare technology. Here’s a sampling of the new products and initiatives they heard about:
- Avnet introduced two new security assessment services, one of which is actually for retailers rather than healthcare providers.
- Extreme Networks rolled out an add-on for its ExtremeManagement solution that lets users track and prove compliance with HIPAA requirements. (And more good news for retailers: The system aids with PCI compliance too.)
- IBM unleashed its Watson “cognitive computing” platform on patient and medical imaging data, augmented the capabilities of its Watson Platform for Health Cloud, and introduced a new Watson Health Consulting Services unit.
- RingCentral made a HIPAA-compliant edition of its Glip collaboration software available to users of its Office unified communications platform.
- Salesforce added new relationship-building, health risk assessment, and patient categorization functionality to its Health Cloud solution.
- VMware announced that it's the latest member of Intel’s Healthcare Security Readiness Program, which provides free one-hour site assessments.
- Zebra Technologies introduced a new mobile scanner and Android-powered multipurpose mobile computer (pictured) for use in clinical settings.
And quietly, just outside the spotlight...Microsoft had a relatively busy, if not terribly momentous, week during which it:
- Equipped Azure with support for Google’s Kubernetes container technology and a new performance and health monitoring tool.
- Shipped a new addition to its Operations Management Suite that provides network monitoring across public and hybrid clouds.
- Put the SharePoint Framework, a new tool for developing custom SharePoint page and web components, into general availability.
- Added new support for learning tools from Canvas and Skooler to its OneNote Class Notebook solution (pictured).
- Announced a series of cloud-focused SMB roadshow events.
- Created a new affiliate program that lets developers collect revenue by promoting Windows Store and Microsoft Stores content in their Universal Windows Apps.
Don’t forget all this! Because you didn’t need to be a processor manufacturer, healthcare technology vendor, or company named “Microsoft” to have worthwhile product news this week. Here’s proof:
- Adobe added secure digital signature functionality (pictured) to its Document Cloud and Sign solutions.
- Amazon Web Services added a new series of Elastic Compute Cloud instances for especially I/O-intensive workloads.
- Avaya put its Equinox unified communications solution into general availability.
- Cisco introduced a new firewall for businesses in industries like banking and retail that execute high volumes of sensitive transactions.
- Deltapath launched a new solution for Office 365 users that connects existing PSTNs and PBXs to Skype for Business.
- Google made NVIDIA Tesla K80 GPUs available to users of its Cloud Platform.
- Hyland released a new cloud-based document management solution optimized for simplicity and security.
- IDrive added cloud-to-cloud backup functionality for Microsoft Office 365 to its Online Backup product.
- OpenStack shipped a new edition of its private cloud platform with enhanced scalability and performance.
- Razer shipped a new charging accessory that extends the battery life of its Blade Stealth laptop beyond 15 hours.
- SolarWinds introduced a new data visualization dashboard for its Orion management platform that’s designed to accelerate and simplify troubleshooting.
- Toshiba unveiled new unified communications software for businesses with up to 24 users.
- Zoho added support for deep packet inspection and Cisco Meraki devices to its NetFlow Analyzer.
And when they weren’t shipping products...Our friends in the vendor world were making news like this:
- Avnet and relayr rolled out a series of workshops aimed at helping customers build, deploy, and support Internet of Things solutions.
- Hewlett Packard Enterprise officially completed its acquisition of hyperconverged infrastructure vendor SimpliVity.
- MobileIron created a new division tasked with building solutions that provide connectivity, continuity, and security to Internet of Things deployments.
- Unified Communications-as-a-Service vendor NetFortis bought fellow UCaaS vendor Fonality.
- SaaSMAX announced a series of 2017 cybersecurity road shows.
- SYNNEX added data center management and rack power distribution vendor Raritan to its line card.
This week’s stats ticker:
- Public cloud providers will rake in $122.5 billion this year, if you believe IDC, or $246.8 billion if you’re on team Gartner.
- One in four U.S. consumers has been affected by a healthcare data breach, according to Accenture.
- The global smartphone installed base will reach 6 billion units in 2020, up from 4 billion last year, according to IHS Markit.
Coming soon to a nightmare near you. HIMSS wasn’t the only big show going on this week. The Toy Industry Association’s annual Toy Fair took place in New York City as well, giving parents their first look at the tech-infused playthings that will be haunting their dreams come the holidays 10 months from now. I mean, really, what’s not to love about a robotic screaming cat? Or the soul-crushing agony of watching a holographic Barbie, trapped in a plastic prison she can never escape, dance for your pleasure 24 hours a day? For some reason, though, the product that has us most creeped out is this build-it-yourself mechanical dog. One shudders at the thought of waking up to the sight of its eternally eager yet eerily blank, blinking face staring at you and watching your every move. Patiently, patiently watching.